Liege-Bastogne-Liege - *Liege-Bastogne-Liege

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  1. - Thanks for following our coverage of Liege-Bastogne-Liege here on Bye for now!

  2. - A final rundown of the top six: 1. Vinokourov - 2. Kolobnev - 3. Valverde - 4. Gilbert - 5. Evans - 6. A.Schleck.

  3. - 1. Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana/KAZ), 2. Alexandre Kolobnev (Katusha/RUS), 3. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne/ESP)

  4. - Well, you can forget about the Giro del Trentino - that was peanuts compared to this. Like it or not, Vino is back.

  5. - Valverde wins the sprint for third, and it's a photo finish for fourth and fifth between Gilbert and Evans.

  6. - Alexandre Vinokourov wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege!!! Kolobnev is second!

  7. 0.3km - VINO IS PULLING CLEAR!!! Kolobnev's head is dropping.

  8. 0.6km - Evans and Valverde are up onto Gilbert's wheel! AND VINO ATTACKS OUT AHEAD!!!

  9. 1km - They're under the red kite now! One kilometre to go! Vino in front, Kolobnev in his wheel!

  10. 1.5km - It looks like it's between Vino and Kolobnev now. The gap's gone out to 40 seconds, and Gilbert is losing time.

  11. 2km - I think the game's up for Gilbert! Vino and Kolobnev are co-operating very well together! The gap's out to 30 seconds.

  12. 5km - The bad news for Gilbert though is that he's still 25 seconds behind the lead duo. He'd better hope they start playing game with eachother.

  13. 6km - MASSIVE ATTACK NOW BY GILBERT!!! He's left Valverde for dead!!!

  14. 6km - Vino attacks on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas!! He wants to shed Kolobnev! Schleck, Contador and Anton have now broken clear of the peloton and are off in pursuit of the chasing trio, from which Valverde attacks!! Followed by Gilbert!!!

  15. 7km - 30 seconds now - and there's always the danger that this Valverde / Evans / Gilbert trio will mark eachother out of the reckoning!

  16. 8km - A number of attacks have come in the peloton now - a few people are realising that it may not all come back together now.

  17. 10km - The peloton are now at 1'15" - that's an alarmingly big gap for Andy Schleck and Damiano Cunego!

  18. 11km - Kolobnev and Vino are working reasonably well together. Their lead is 15 seconds over the Evans / Gilbert / Valverde trio.

  19. 12km - Evans has now made it across to Valverde and Gilbert. He's sitting on the back for a bit now, just catching his breath after that chase. The pace is very, very high, and it's all a bit frenetic.

  20. 15km - Kolobnev has now worked his way up to Vino's wheel, while Valverde and Gilbert are in pursuit, 8 seconds back. The peloton are at 16 seconds.

  21. 16km - Vino launches an audacious dig, though does he have the motor to hold off the pack? He's just won the Giro del Trentino, so he's in decent form.

  22. 18km - Evans doesn't panic though, and he's bringing the chasing pack closer. What fascinating racing, all between the very biggest names in the sport.

  23. 20km - Contador attacks now!!! The Tour de France champion is flying!!! He's left the field for dead!

  24. 20km - Cadel Evans is leading the chase now at the front of the peloton. Contador is in his wheel, grimacing like he's in real pain!

  25. 20km - Schleck and Gilbert absolutely blaze past Tankink.

  26. 20km - Andy Schleck attacks!!! At exactly the same point as he did last year too - the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons! Gilbert is straight on his wheel!!

  27. 22km - Ivanov has attacked from the bunch too, and has nine seconds on the peloton. Tankink has an impressive 37 seconds.

  28. 27km - This is a decent little attack from Tankink. He has 13 seconds on the bunch. I suppose the thinking from Rabobank is that they don't have a real leader to rival the likes of Valverde and Gilbert in a final uphill sprint, so may as well try everything they can until the final kilometre.

  29. 30km - Bram Tankink now attacks, though again struggles to make any real ground. Rabobank are really going for this.

  30. 31km - We know have a group of seven riders off the front with a few seconds lead over the peloton. Barredo, Garzelli, Martin, Ten Dam and others, though there's a lack of co-operation amongst them, and the peloton is closing in again.

  31. 34km - Caruso goes too, with Ivanov in his wheel. It's really beginning to kick off now.

  32. 34km - Garzelli goes off the front too!! He now motors past Martin and up to the wheel of Ten Dam.

  33. 34km - Masciarelli of Acqua & Sapone goes too, though is soon passed by Tony Martin. That will cause a stir in the peloton, as he is a strong man.

  34. 35km - Carlos Barredo attacks on the Côte de la Redoute! Laurens Ten Dam follows him!

  35. 38km - Well, Scheirlinckx has been brought back in, and the peloton is really motoring now, driven on by Milram. In fact, Devenyns is taken in too!

  36. 43km - A number of attacks come off the front of the peloton, but the high pace maintained by the Caisse d'Epargne squad ensure they are stamped out, though Bert Scheirlinckx has managed to gain a couple of seconds now. Devenyns is still the lone man up the road.

  37. 46km - Dirk Bellemakers is about to be taken back from the breakaway. Meanwhile, Peter Velits has counter-attacked from the peloton.

  38. 48km - The lead group has exploded completely on the Mont Theux climb. Meanwhile, Maxime Monfort is reeled back in by the pack. Dried Devenyns is now the sole leader, about 50 seconds ahead of the peloton as they approach the Côte de la Redoute.

  39. 50km - Maxime Monfort is now just 10 seconds from the leaders, while the peloton is at 45 seconds. Monfort's attack came at a curious time, just as the peloton is quickening.

  40. 55km - Ah - apologies. I thought Monfort was on his own there after a crash. In fact the HTC-Columbia man has attacked and is off in pursuit of the breakaway.

  41. 60km - Some riders have ground to a halt on the right hand side of the road as the peloton bunches together at a narrow section. Maxime Monfort was held up there, as was Contador by the looks of things. They're safely back on their way though.

  42. 60km - Pieter Weening hits the front for Rabobank. Difficult to know who they'd be working for today. Menchov? Do they think Freire might be able to do something?

  43. 60km - One man we haven't spoken about today is Carlos Sastre. We know he's preparing for the Giro next month, so he should be coming into top shape right around now. He may not have the kick to win this race, but I'd expect him to stay with the leaders until the very latter stages - maybe even finish with a lead group.

  44. 65km - Veikkanen, who was also dropped from the lead group, has joined Voigt, and the pair are now 1'02" off the leaders, with the peloton slowly closing in, now at 1'29".

  45. 70km - Valverde is receiving treatment from the medical car for a scrape on his right arm. Perhaps he came down earlier off camera. He still seems in fine fettle though - nothing much to worry about. Meanwhile out front, Voigt has dropped Bouet and is now just 37" behind the leaders.

  46. 70km - Voigt has caught Bouet, and the Frenchman will try and remain in Voigt's wheel. He might even get a tow back up to the lead group if he can find some reserves of energy.

  47. 75km - Maxime Bouet has been dropped on the Col du Rosier. This time it may well be the end for the Frenchman.

  48. 75km - A pretty pedestrian average speed for the moment - just 38km/h. If it continues like this, it will be one of the slowest editions of La Doyenne in recent years.

  49. 80km - Ouch! Philip Deignan takes a fall in the middle of the peloton right in the middle of the feed zone. A Liquigas rider lands right on top of him. No damage done though, and they're back up and on their way. Meanwhile, Alejandro Valverde is in need of a bike change after problems with his chain.

  50. 85km - The Caisse d'Epargne team have assembled en masse at the head of the peloton now to chase down the attack from Voigt. The German is 1'55" behind the leaders, with the peloton at 2'47".

  51. 85km - Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne): Perhaps the man most suited to this parcours, Valverde has won here in 2006 and 2008. Before the UCI have another crack at expanding his suspensino (currently only valid in Italy) the Spaniard has another chance to add to his palmares. He has a devilish uphill sprint, and his form is improving with every race.

  52. 90km - Meanwhile, the gap between the leaders and the peloton has fallen to just 2'51", while Jens Voigt is at 2'19".

  53. 90km - A fall in the peloton! Quite a few riders are down on the right hand side of the road. Nobody looks too badly injured - a slow speed fall, and most are picking themselves up, dusting themselves down, and getting going again.

  54. 95km - Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto): Gilbert is the man in stunning form, with a marvellous Spring campaign (winner at Amstel, 3rd at Flanders) behind him. Though he's not under excessive pressure, the fact that this race is taking place in his back garden gives it special significance for him. "I'm counting on my finishing speed," he said. "I fancy my chances against anyone, even Valverde."

  55. 95km - Jens Voigt attacks from the peloton. Well, I didn't expect that - it's a very, very long way from the finish. The German veteran is really going for it, trying to sap the strengths of rival teams if he can bridge the gap to the leaders.

  56. 100km - 100 kilometres to the finish, and the gap is down to 3'36"

  57. 105km - Cadel Evans (BMC): In a way, the pressure is off the raining world champion after his victory on the mur de Huy. La Doyenne is a key step in his preparations for the Giro, so he will more than likely be there or thereabouts at the finish. It must be said that his BMC team has nothing like the quality of the teams of Ivanov or the Schlecks.

  58. 110km - Damiano Cunego (Lampre): The little Italian is in fine form, as his results at Amstel (5th) and Fleche (6th) showed. He has never done better than third here, though there's every reason to believe he could go better today. He possesses a mean kick, and will be a real danger if arriving in a small lead group. Worth noting, however, that he is without a win this year.

  59. 115km - The riders have passed the first two of the tougher climbs so far, the Roche-en-Ardenne and the Côte de Saint Roch, the latter of which was very short (800m) but pretty steep (12% on average). The next climb will be the Côte de Wanne, with the summit exactly 100km from the finish.

  60. 120km - The breakaway's advantage has come down ever so slightly, though there's still a fairly big lull in the tempo of the race right now. 5'10" the gap.

  61. 120km - Joaquin Rodriguez: One of the classiest riders in the world yet to have won a classic. The Spaniard's move from Caisse d'Epargne last year allowed him to emerge from the shadow of Alejandro Valverde. One of the most in-form riders in the peloton this Spring, as he showed when taking 2nd at the Flèche behind Evans. He was also runner-up here last year behind Andy Schleck.

  62. 125km - Alberto Contador (Astana): His presence has created an even bigger media frenzy around the race. Passed 70 metres from the finish of the Fleche-Wallonne by Cadel Evans, but Contador must always be considered a threat in any race. Perhaps lacking a bit of experience on this type of terrain, and he has made it clear the Tour is his one big objective, but his sheer class could well see him win.

  63. 130km - Serguei Ivanov (Katusha): The Russian is not quite in the blistering form of 2009 that took him to victory in the Amstel Gold Race, but he seems very strong nonetheless. Attacked incessantly at AGR and at Fleche-Wallonne on Wednesday, and will thus be marked very closely. Has the support of a superbly strong Katusha team.

  64. 135km - Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank): While he announced his arrival as one of the world's very best riders at the Giro in 2007, Andy's first major career win came here last year. He attacked 20 km from home, and took a magnificent solo victory. He considers himself ideally suited to the Ardennes classics, and has promised to attack again today. "I'll be there with the leaders", he assured, and there's every reason to believe him.

  65. 135km - We've had a look at the men in the breakaway, now for a run through the favourites for victory here today, starting with last year's winner, Andy Schleck.

  66. 140km - As mentioned earlier, Eddy Merckx has more wins in this event than anyone else. He five victories came in 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1975).Behind the Cannibal is Italy's Moreno Argentin, who won four times between 1985 and 1991. The Belgians Léon Houa, Alphonse Schepers and Alfred De Bruyne have three wins apiece.

  67. 145km - Not a lot of change in the race situation over the last half-hour or so. The peloton are content to keep the eight-man breakaway on a leash of 6'00"

  68. 150km - A reminder of the lead group: Thomas De Gendt (Topsport Vlaanderen), Maxime Bouet (AG2R), Alan Perez (Euskaltel), Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux), Dries Devenyns (Quick Step), Niki Terpstra (Milram), Mauro Finetto (Liquigas) and Dirk Bellemakers (Landbouwkrediet).

  69. 155km - We've been racing for just over 100 kilometres now. The favourites are still all keeping their powder dry in the peloton.

  70. 160km - A quick word about the course. The main change to the parcours this year has been the removal of the Côte de la Haute-Levée, so the lead up to the Côte de la Redoute is slightly different. But, in the words of Philippe Gilbert, who grew up right nearby "that won't change anything for the leaders."

  71. 165km - Credit to Bellemakers!! After an absolute monster of a chase, he has finally caught the lead group, and we have eight men out front. Their lead is hovering at around the 6'00" mark.

  72. 170km - Meanwhile, the gap between the peloton and the chasing pack has come down to 5'30".

  73. 170km - The leaders are coming up to the first climb of the day, the Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne. A very manageable gradient, and under 3 kilometres long.

  74. 175km - Thomas de Gendt (Topsport-Vlaanderen): De Gent proved his good form by finishing second at Brabantse Pijl behind Sebastien Rosseler two weeks ago, though was 130th at Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday. He is in his second season with Topsport Vlaanderen, for whom his biggest win came at the Tour de Wallonie, where he won stage 4.

  75. 175km - Mauro Finetto (Liquigas): At 1.75m and 62kg, Finetto is one of the smaller riders in this breakaway. He will turn 25 in May, and is in his first season with Liquigas. His best result of the season so far came at the Klasika Primavera, where he was 6th behind Samuel Sanchez at the Klasika Primavera.

  76. 180km - Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step): Devenyns is in his second season with Quick-Step since joining from Silence-Lotto at the end of 2008. He was 75th at Milan Sanremo this year, 69 at Fleche Wallonne, and his last win as a professional came in stagr 5 of the Tour of Austria.

  77. 180km - Jussi Veikkanen (FdJ): Veikkanen, now 29, has been with FdJ for the last six seasons. he was 60th at the Amstel Gold Race last week, and won stage 2 of the Tour of the Mediterranean back in February this year. His biggest ever success came at the Deutschland Tour in 2008, when he won stage 6 into Neuss.

  78. 185km - Maxime Bouet (Ag2r): Bouet is a tal, rangy rider who joined from Agritubel after they folded at the end of last season. He was 152nd at Milan-Sanremo, 88th at the Amstel Gold Race, and 81st at the Fleche Wallonne this year. Of his five professional wins, the biggest came last May when he won the Boucles de l'Aulne.

  79. 185km - The lead remains pretty stable, though has just dipped below the 8'00" mark. To his credit, Bellemakers is still trying gamely to get across to the leaders.

  80. 185km - Alan Perez (Euskaltel): Perez, now 27, has been with his Euskaltel team since 2006, though is yet to record any wins for them. His best result of the season so far came at Milan-Sanremo, where he was 36th.

  81. 190km - Niki Terpstra (Milram): The 25-year-old Dutchman is a strong classics rider, and something of a rouleur. He was 32nd at Paris-Roubaix thie season, and 45th at the Tour of Flanders. His best placing so far this year came at the Dwars door Vlaanderen, where he was third. He has seven wins to his name so far in his young career, the biggest coming at the Dauphine Libere last year, where he won stag3 3 into Saint-Etienne.

  82. 195km - With the race having settled down and our breakaway having steadied its lead at around the 8'00" mark, let's have a closer look at some of the men in this breakaway, starting with Niki Terpstra.

  83. 200km - The fastest ever edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege was won by ALejandro Valverde back in 2006, at an average of 41.2km/h. Andy Schleck's average speed last year was the eighth-quickest ever, at 39.7km/h.

  84. 205km - Landbouwkredit's Bert de Waele, who was fourth at the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday: "I can get myself into the top ten, but then after that everything would have to fall perfectly into place [for me to win]. The race will blow apart on La Redoute and then again on the Cöte de la Roche aux Faucons. My favourite is Contador."

  85. 210km - Phillipe Gilbert gave a hint at the start as to where he may try something: "I can afford to be patient, as I have a good sprint. But that's not my way of racing. If I see an opportunity, I will take it. My family and friends are on La Redoute, so it's going to be very special there."

  86. 215km - The seven leaders have stretched their lead out to 8'00", while Bellemakers has been caught by the peloton. There was no way he was ever goin to make back time on seven men going all guns blazing to stretch out a lead.

  87. 220km - Defending champion Andy Schleck at the start line: "This is the best race of the year but also one of the toughest. Only a few great riders like Merckx and Bartoli, won twice in succession. I would like to add my name to that list. My biggest rival today will be [Philippe] Gilbert."

  88. 225km - No prizes for guessing who the most successful rider here is - one Eddy Merckx with five wins to his name.

  89. 225km - Belgium have had more winners in this race (58) than any other country, by a long, long way. Next comes Italy (12 wins), followed by Switzerland (6), France (5) and Holland (3). However, there hasn't been a home winner since Frank Vandenbroucke back in 1999. Can Philippe Gilbert break that losing run today?

  90. 230km - The seven-man breakaway has now increased its lead to 2'00" over the chasing pack. Meanwhile, Dirk Bellemakers (Credit Agricole) missed the break when it went, but is now desperately trying to work his way across.

  91. 240km - Mauro Finetto (Liquigas) , Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux), Dries Devenyns (Quick Step), Niki Terpstra (Milram) and Alan Perez (Euskaltel) have now bridged the gap across to Bouet and De Gendt and we have seven leaders out front.

  92. 245km - Two riders decide to make a break. Thomas de Gendt, again of Topsport Vlaanderen, and Ag2r's Maxime Bouet gain a few metres on the peloton.

  93. 256km - Topsport Vlaanderen's Jérôme Baugnies is the first to try an attack, but he is reeled back in by the peloton within seconds.

  94. 258km - 198 riders have taken the start for today's race, and we're underway in the first of 258 kilometres through the Ardennes. Anthony Roux of Française des Jeuz was the man not at the start today.

  95. 9:20 - Last year, Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck rode away from the peloton on the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, blazed past Philippe Gilbert, and rode alond into Liege to claim the first classic of his career. He's here again this year, looking to defend his title, though will face stiff competition from Gilbert himself, Alejandro Valverde, Damiano Cunego, Joaquin Rodriguez and Alberto Contador.

  96. 9:10 - It may not attract the attention and media frenzy of Paris-Roubaix, but it's La Doyenne des Classiques - as the French would say - the oldest of the classics, one of the most prestigious races in the world and the fourth of the five monuments of the season.

  97. 9:00 - Welcome to's live text coverage of Liege-Bastogne-Liege!